This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Much Obliged, Jeeves
Series: Jeeves Omnibus #5.1
Author: P.G. Wodehouse
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Jeeves types a report of Bertie’s latest misadventures for the club book of the Junior Ganymede Club, in which the club’s members are required to record information about their employers, to inform those seeking employment about potential employers. Bertie worries that his embarrassing information will fall into the hands of his judgmental Aunt Agatha and asks Jeeves to destroy the pages about him, but Jeeves asserts that the book is secure and refuses to defy the rules of his club.
An old school friend of Bertie’s, Ginger Winship, is standing for the House of Commons in a by-election at Market Snodsbury, near the home of Bertie’s Aunt Dahlia, Brinkley Court, on the wishes of his strict fiancée. Aunt Dahlia persuades Bertie to come to Brinkley to assist in the canvassing. Before departing, Bertie has drinks with Jeeves at the Junior Ganymede. They discuss how Ginger’s chances for election will be hurt if the public learns about his rowdy past (mild by Bertie’s standards but potentially offensive to the traditional rural populace of Market Snodsbury). At the club, they see an uncouth ex-valet that Bertie once employed, Bingley, who greets Jeeves in an overly familiar fashion, calling him “Reggie”.
At Brinkley, he discovers Ginger’s fiancée is the overbearing Florence Craye, who has previously been betrothed to several people, including Bertie. Florence mistakenly believes that Bertie still wants to marry her, and Bertie’s personal code prevents him from telling her otherwise. The intimidating Roderick Spode, 8th Earl of Sidcup has come to deliver speeches for Ginger, and he has brought his fiancée, Madeline Bassett. Like Florence, Madeline thinks Bertie wants to marry her and Bertie is too polite to correct her.
Also present is L. P. Runkle, a financier and collector, who is visiting Brinkley to sell a silver porringer worth nine thousand pounds to Bertie’s uncle Tom Travers (who has fled Brinkley Court to avoid the guests). Runkle was the employer of the late father of Bertie’s friend Tuppy Glossop, and profited from Tuppy’s father’s invention, leaving little for Tuppy and his father. Dahlia wants to soften up Runkle and get him to pay Tuppy his due so Tuppy can finally marry his fiancée, Angela, Aunt Dahlia’s daughter.
Ginger’s chances for election (and thus his engagement to Florence) are threatened by Bingley, who has purloined the Junior Ganymede club book. Bingley intends to sell its pages about Ginger to his opponent or to the local newspaper. To prevent this, Jeeves pays Bingley a social visit, taking the opportunity to slip him a Mickey Finn and recover the book.
Surprisingly, this does not please Ginger. After disappointing Florence in his performance at the Council meeting, he no longer wants to marry her, and has fallen in love with his secretary, Magnolia Glendennon. Like Bertie, Ginger is prevented by his personal code from telling a woman he does not want to marry her. To spur Florence to break the engagement, Ginger wants the local newspaper to print the club book’s pages about him, but Jeeves is unwilling to part with the book. Meanwhile, Spode is entranced by the reception he is getting at his speeches for Ginger, and thinks of renouncing his title and running for the Commons himself. This upsets Madeline, who wants to become a Countess. Madeline considers marrying Bertie instead of Spode.
Aunt Dahlia, failing to convince Runkle to give Tuppy any money, has stolen the silver porringer he wished to sell to Tom. Bertie tries to return the porringer, but is caught, and hides the object in his bureau drawer. At the candidate debate, Ginger, following Jeeves’s advice, endorses his opponent and resigns the race. Havoc ensues between the opposing sides, and those present, including Spode and Florence, are pelted with produce. Florence breaks her engagement with Ginger, and he promptly elopes with Magnolia.
Bingley (in Runkle’s employ) discovers the missing porringer in Bertie’s drawer, and Runkle accuses Bertie of the theft. While Bertie faces jail time, this has the positive effect of keeping Florence from trying to marry Bertie. Spode realises he would prefer to stay in the produce-free House of Lords and chooses to keep his title. He and Madeline reconcile.
Finally, Jeeves reveals secrets about Runkle written about him by Bingley in the club book, preventing him from pressing charges against Bertie, and also forcing him to give Tuppy his legacy. Noting that Bingley was able to steal the club book, Bertie again asks Jeeves to destroy the eighteen pages that Jeeves wrote about Bertie. Jeeves states that he has already done so.
I don’t know what it was, but while this was still quite enjoyable, the “zest” seemed not to be there for me. Part of that is because I watched the BBC production with Frye and Laurie and the final episode took a lot of the story from this book, so everything wasn’t all shiny and new. I also am wondering if Wodehouse was simply running out of steam for this Dynamic Duo. This is the 13th book in the series for goodness sake.
There was no chortling on my end. A slightly raised eyebrow and a quirk of the lip were about the limits my expressions of joy and delight while reading this. I felt very Jeeve’ish.
The lesson I learned from this? If there is a movie/tv version of a book, read the bleeding book first so you don’t ruin it for yourself with the boobtube version. Once you’ve read the books, then I HIGHLY recommend the Frye & Laurie rendition of Jeeves & Wooster.